Students: Top tips for avoiding internship scams

The advances of internet technology have made posting and applying for internships more efficient than ever before. Employers and applicants are able to connect with the click of a button; and so can scammers. Fake job postings can reel you in to obtain your personal information and wreak havoc on your good name. Not only do these scammers post fake opportunities, they can also send messages directly to your email. Don’t fall prey to internship scams. Before you divulge personal information with any potential employer, verify that the company is legitimate.  Here are five tips for avoiding internship scams.


Plug the name of company in a web search engine to determine whether the company name is real or fake. Locate any information you can about the company. If you are having a hard time locating the company by a simple name search, try adding the word “scam” after the name. Chances are that you won’t be the first attempted victim and may find reports of others who were targets of the scammers. If the company name is not provided in the posting, this could be the first sign of a problem. If the internship is nearby, drive by the location to make sure it actually exists. The Better Business Bureau and sites like can also be very helpful in finding out information about companies.

Avoid internship scams

Don’t take the bait! If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

Dissect the Description

Internship postings that sound too good to be true are typically just that; too good to be true. It is your job to pull out your detective magnifying glass and search each posting with care. You want to make sure that the qualifications and responsibilities match the internship. Don’t be afraid to correspond with the employer if anything is unclear or vague within the posting. It is much better to be safe than sorry.

Applicant DON’TS

  • With the exception of some extremely rare instances, you should never have to pay any fees up front in order to be hired for an internship.
  • Never give up any information pertaining to your personal bank account, PayPal account, or credit cards in exchange for work. All too often scammers use a fake payment transfer or forwarding job in order obtain personal financial information. These tasks will include the wiring or transferring of funds from one account (yours) to another. They tell you to retain part of the money as payment. The problem with this scenario is that chances are you will never be paid and scammers get full accesses to your finances.
  • The only time that you will have to give up any information about your bank account is if you choose to receive direct deposit. Typically, this information will be obtained by the employer after you have begun working on site.

May the Applicant Beware

Keep an eye out for any of the following techniques typically used by scammers through email:

  • Unsolicited and not sent from a company domain
  • Filled with grammatical and spelling errors
  • Request bank account information
  • Send internship offers without any interaction whatsoever
  • Contain no company information
  • Send request for login passwords or SSN

Typical Job Scams

Although the following jobs seem harmless. they are typically used by scammers.

  • Pyramid sales scheme
  • Model or talent agencies
  • Mystery shoppers
  • Envelope stuffing
  • Shipping from home
  • Check issuing from home

Now that you know how to avoid fraudulent internship scams, you can now focus on the real opportunities that await.  Visit to find internships in Rhode Island.

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Bridge is a program that focuses on connecting employers and students in Rhode Island. The goal of Bridge is to match Rhode Island employers with talented students looking to gain valuable professional experience. Applying knowledge and skills acquired in college to a professional setting is a vital component of a student’s college education. Students who gain relevant internship experience are better prepared for full-time employment after graduation. By hiring interns, employers gain qualified, career-driven young professionals as employees. Student bring with them exposure to cutting edge practices and technology, new insights and philosophies, flexibility and a thirst for knowledge. bRIdge has a particular focus on connecting students and employers from specialized fields such as Business, Science, IT, Technology, Health, Design, Engineering and Manufacturing. The bRIdge website allows employers to post paid or unpaid internships online and directly reach out to a vast and talented pool of students. College students and recent graduates can sign up and start looking for an appropriate professional learning opportunity in minutes. bRIdge is a program of the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) and RISLA’s College Planning Center of Rhode Island. RISLA has joined up with Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island (AICURI), the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education (RIBGHE) and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce to bring together academia, business and community. If you have any questions about this program or if you need any assistance, please feel free to contact us.

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